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together, there lacked of David's servants nineteen men and Asahel. But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin and of Abner's men three hundred and threescore men. And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.
Abner's Defection and Death (2 Sam. iii. 6-39). And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul. And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Abner took her. And Ishbaal said to Abner, "Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine?" Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ishbaal, and said: "Am I a dog's head, that I do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, and yet thou chargest me to-day with a fault concerning a woman? So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the Lord hath sworn to David, even so I do to him; to translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer-sheba." And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.
And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying: "Make thy league with me, and behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee." And he said: "Well; I will make a league with thee; but one thing I require of thee: that is, thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal, Saul's daughter, when thou comest to see my face." And David sent messengers to Ishbaal Saul's son, saying, "Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines." And Ishbaal sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish. And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, "Go, return." And he returned.
And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel,
saying: "Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you: now then do it: for the Lord hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hands of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies." And Abner also spake in the ears of Benjamin and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin.
So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast. And Abner said unto David: "I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth." And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace.
And behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a foray, and brought in a great spoil with them: but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace. When Joab and all the host that was with him were come, they told Joab, saying: "Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath sent him away, and he is gone in peace." Then Joab came to the king, and said: "What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone? Knowest thou not Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest." And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, which brought him again from the well of Sirah but David knew it not. And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him apart to the side of the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
And afterward when David heard it, he said: "I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner: let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father's house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff,1 or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread." And David said to Joab and to all the people that were with him : "Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and 1 leaneth on a staff. Better: 'holdeth the spindle ;' i. e., is effeminate.
mourn before Abner." And king David himself followed the bier. And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept. And the king lamented over Abner, and said,
"Should Abner die as a fool dieth?
Thy hands were not bound,
Nor thy feet put into fetters:
As a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou."
And all the people wept again over him. And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying: "So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or aught else, till the sun be down." And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner. And the king said unto his servants: "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness."
Murder of Ishbaal (2 Sam. iv.). And when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. And Saul's son had two men that were captains of bands: the name of the one was Baanah, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Rimmon a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin. And Rechab and Baanah went, and came about the heat of the day to the house of Ishbaal who lay on a bed at noon. And behold, the woman that kept the door of the house was winnowing wheat, and she slumbered and slept; and the brethren, Rechab and Baanah, went privily into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, and they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head, and gat them away through the Arabah all night. And they brought the head of Ishbaal unto David to Hebron, and said to the king: "Behold the head of Ish baal the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the Lord hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed." And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, 1 slumbered. In the old sense of 'drowsed.'
the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them: "As the Lord liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, when one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his tidings: how much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? Shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?" And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbaal, and buried it in the sepulchre of Abner in Hebron.
David made King of Israel (2 Sam. v. 1-5). Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying: "Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel." So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord and they anointed David king over Israel.
David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.
War with the Philistines (2 Sam. v. 17; xxiii. 13-17; v. 18-25; xxi. 15-22; viii. 1). But when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines came up to seek David; and David heard of it and went down to the hold.
And three of the Thirty 1 went down, and came to the rock to David, unto the hold of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim. And David was then in the hold, and the garrison was then at Beth-lehem. And David longed, and said: Oh, that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Beth-lehem, which is by the gate!" And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was 1 the Thirty. See p. 276.
by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. And he said: "Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?" therefore he would not drink it.
Now the Philistines had come and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David enquired of the Lord, saying: "Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand?" And the Lord said unto David: "Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand." And David came to Baal-perazim, and David smote them there, and said: "The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters." Therefore he called the name of that place Baal-perazim.' And there they left their gods, and David and his men took them away.
And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the Lord, he said: "Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines." And David did so, as the Lord had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gezer.
Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint. And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant,3 the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succored him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying: "Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel."
1 Baal-perazim. 'Lord of the breakings forth.'
2 Belief in omens from trees was not confined to the early Semites. At Dodona, the most ancient oracle in Greece, the priests interpreted the will of Zeus from the rustling of the wind in lofty oaks.
the giant. Heb. Raphah, a collective singular denoting a prehistoric people in Canaan of exceptional stature.
4 three hundred shekels. About thirteen pounds.